Senator Pauline O’Reilly said that “This initiative could not have come at a better time, following a letter sent by 28 school principals in Galway which called for more action from the council. We’re now making sure that the money is available to make it happen. The Safe Routes to School aims to support active travel infrastructure for selected schools around the country and to create safer walking and cycling routes within communities, alleviate congestion at the school gates and increase the number of students who walk or cycle to school by providing walking and cycling facilities”. O’Reilly went on to say “getting children cycling is not only healthy and fun, it also helps the environment”.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD said: “Schoolchildren need more than hi- vis vests to get to schools safely. They need proper infrastructure to make walking cycling and scooting a practical choice for families. The first phase of Safe routes to school will help deliver these facilities by fast tracking segregated infrastructure and providing front of school treatments to improve access and prevent congestion. Helping children get to school safely under their own steam is better for their health and development and better for the environment.
All schools are eligible to apply to the programme and information will be circulated from the Departments of Education and Transport to schools nationwide. The selected schools will be guided through the application process and will work with a designated infrastructure officer from Green-Schools who will liaise with the school and local authority as works are planned and carried out.
Schools will be selected for participation in the programme for 2021 based on a mix of criteria including school type, location and school’s commitment to sustainable travel. The programme will select a number of schools for participation this year with further opportunities for schools that are not successful in their application to reapply at a later date.
The programme is funded by the Department of Transport through the National Transport Authority (NTA) and is supported by the Department of Education. An Taisce’s Green-Schools is co-ordinating the programme, while funding will be made available to local authorities which will play a key part in delivering the infrastructure along access routes and at the school gate.
For more information about the programme, visit www.greenschoolsireland.org/saferoutestoschools